Valtteri Bottas has revealed that Lewis Hamilton's "dominant way of working" was a hindrance during his time with Mercedes. The Finn wanted to take a lead role during his time with the Silver Arrows team, but was unable to despite helping the team to five consecutive Constructors' championships.
The former Williams driver joined the team when Nico Rosberg announced his sudden retirement from the sport after winning the 2016 Drivers' championship with Mercedes. Bottas was expected to challenge Hamilton with both driving the dominant Silver Arrows machinery, but the Finnish racer was unable to during his five years with the team.
Bottas ended up playing second-fiddle and playing the team game in a number of championship battles. The 32-year-old, who joined Alfa Romeo for the 2022 campaign, admits that Hamilton being in the team longer was among the reasons he could get an upper hand.
"I feel like in the last few years, he's been more in a lead role, and for me, it's been quite difficult to try and take a lead role, because he's been, obviously, here before and he's pretty dominant in the way he works with a team," Bottas told GP Blog.
"Also, setting up the car for sure, I've learned a few things, but also many [other] things."
Bottas also pinpointed Hamilton's great "tyre management and race pace" as the main difference between the two. He also spoke about the dedication Hamilton has despite leading a jet-setting lifestyle, which sees him travel the world pursuing other interests away from the track.
"Driving style-wise, tyre management is one of his big strengths, and in any condition and circumstances, he always finds a way," Bottas added. "That race pace and tyre management part has probably been the biggest difference between me and Lewis and consistency is what he's had with those things."
"Obviously, his lifestyle is also different in a way that, he might be in New York just a day before the race weekend, whatever, doing other things. But when he is in his working mode and in this Formula 1 mode, he's never leaving any stone unturned and he's always pushing the team a lot."
Hamilton's F1 future, however, remains in doubt with the Mercedes driver still struggling to get over the disappointment of the season-ending race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes are awaiting the outcome of FIA's review of the events on Dec 12, which could also play a role in the British racer's decision.